Monday, July 25, 2011

Spicing Up Wilderness Encounters

I'm in the middle of fleshing out my hex map for the Stonelands for my tabletop Cormyr campaign, and after some time keying the main points of interest, I decided rather than key the rest of the hexes with otherwise mundane notes, I'd simply create a table, which could apply to most wilderness excursions.  Besides, this gives me another perfect excuse to use my d30 in play.  If you don't own a d30, not to worry.  Just use a d20 and use the first 20 encounters.  When you use an encounter with the d20, scratch it off and replace that number with one of the 10 remaining for future use.

Here's how it works: When checking for random wilderness encounters, if you roll for an encounter, roll another d6.  On a 1-4 use your standard wandering monster/wilderness encounter table you've prepared for the area.  On a 5 or 6 use the following table:

d30 Hexcrawling Wilderness Oddities

01. Makeshift altar with humanoid remains and dried blood staining the ground.  A sacrifice to some cruel god took place here.
02. Unconscious man/woman is tied to a tree (or bound to some other wilderness feature). Naked and has been robbed by brigands.  Hungry and weak from dehydration (perhaps a frostbite victim if traveling in winter season).
03. A pack of wolves (or other animals) is surrounding a woman and small child, threatening to attack.
04. Campsite with a smoldering campfire.  Anyone with tracking can make a check to determine there were 6-7 people camping here a few hours before and left heading the same direction as the party's goal.  Perhaps a group of adventurers seeking the same destination as the party?
05. Scene of a recent skirmish.  Dead humans/demi-humans (possibly adventurers) along with several gnolls scattered about.
06. Shallow grave with makeshift tombstone, on which is written: "Here lies Ralston. Thief, liar, and craven."
07. A cougar (or some other animal) chewing on the remains of a goblin.
08. A mage sitting under a tree reading over a book.  He tells party he is waiting on a friend, but doesn't mention why or whom.  He answers questions vaguely.  After a few minutes he starts repeating himself.  Eventually, he fades away/vanishes.
09. A female boar and several piglets.  The female will attack if PC's seem threatening to her piglets.
10.  An unoccupied cottage. Remains of farm animals outside. Bowls with food on a table within.  Abandoned for some time, but occupants seemingly just up and left.
11. Band of gypsies (possibly lycanthropes.) They offer various sundries and oddities for sale, and will read the fortunes of the PCs.
12. Lost caravan guard. He/she was guarding a merchant caravan which was attacked by bandits. He/she fled, and is now lost in the wilderness.
13. Remains of a funeral pyre.  Fire has long since burned out.  Ashen remains of humanoid on top of pyre.
14. Small pond with a beautiful woman swimming nude, her clothes on the bank.  She will seem surprised, and will attempt to seduce a party member.  She is actually a succubus.
15. Skull of a hill giant, now covered in moss and grass in patches.  Looking inside the mouth reveals a small cache with 100sp (and possibly a clue relevant to the adventure/area.)
16. Traveling pilgrims of some lesser deity.  They will offer healing, or other priestly services for a charitable contribution (which is unreasonably high.)
17. Body of a dead adventurer in chain armor, pierced with several arrows.  He is holding a sword to his chest in ritualistic fashion.  Searching the body reveals a clue about the PCs goal, or a map to another site.
18. A chimera flies overhead carrying in one of its jaws the dead body of a human.  It won't seem to notice the party unless they engage it.
19. Mad hermit named Boltus.  Adorned in the skins of various animals.  He seems crazy, but is actually a 9th level Ranger.  If PCs ask questions relevant to their adventure, there is a chance he can give info amidst his seemingly insane rants.
20. Band of hunters camping.  They know the area well, and if PCs are friendly will offer assistance.
21. Large overturned statue of a cloaked figure holding a sword covered in vines and other vegetation.  At base of statue is a secret compartment containing a map/clue of area.
22. Twisted dead tree in the distance with what appears to be a humanoid hanging from a limb by a rope.  When PCs approach, the figure is gone.  Tree is gray and dead, and marked with arcane runes of some foul god.
23. A wandering druid with a bear.  He/she will offer assistance and information to area, if PCs can somehow prove they are not endangering the lands.
24. Stone statues of 3 ogres twisted in horrific poses.  They are somewhat crumbling and covered in vegetation. Perhaps victims of some spell or monster effect from long ago.
25. A magical well seemingly in the middle of nowhere.  If PCs drink from the well, they instantly feel rejuvenated, and gain +1 to all attacks and saving throws for 3d10 turns.
26. A young boy pinned under a fallen tree from a lightning strike.  His leg is broken and he can't pull himself free.
27. A stone bridge over a small river crossing guarded by a gnome mage who seems of little consequence to adventurers.  He charges 50sp to cross his bridge.  PCs can easily overpower him and cross the bridge.  If they do so, however, they will be hunted by an Invisible Stalker.
28. A rare fungus is found which has a purple luminescence.  If any herbalists are in party, they can identify as a component for certain disease cures and potions.
29. A man lying unconscious and naked on the ground.  He doesn't remember how he got there, and seems in a panic with a nervous demeanor.  He will flee as soon as possible.  Man is actually a werewolf.
30. A small abandoned cave.  Entrance is overgrown with vegetation.  Inside is a cot, and a locked chest.  Chest contains 100gp.